SocietyIts all about social networking these days. Everyone, young or old has a facebook or a twitter account. Even the Queen of England has recently joined facebook – at the age of 84! The elderly who were left out of the internet revolution are trying to play catch up now. And, with the invention of devices like the ipad, which are targeted to make life much easier and simpler, very much like the invention of the automatic car, they are catching up much more quickly.

The young ones on the other hand spend tens of hours everyday hooked onto internet, sharing what they did last evening, with people they haven’t even seen. Surely, this is something the the older generation doesn’t approve of, but are left with no choice apart from accepting this to be the norm!

Thinking about the current situation makes me wonder – are we effectively losing the concept of a social structure – something that the human race had fine tuned over many centuries. I am sure the concept of society is much more necessary or else our forefathers would have lost it long back. Or was it just a lack of choice then?

Whatever the case, the upcoming generation have a serious issue looming in terms of their perception of society. They are made to think that a society is something that is built around an individual (meaning themselves) and they can choose to what level they want others to be a part of their society.

This is a paradigm shift in the way humans have perceived themselves and their society, but the question is – are we going to make life difficult for ourselves?

The concept of a society is so very important to us that we always emphasise team work and coordination. Extensive experiments in both sociology and psychology have been conducted to understand how group behaviour affects our decisions and perceptions.

And without any doubt, a group always shines ahead of an individual. The younger generation would argue that the group that shines is always self-formed and not forced like the society of the past.

Teuvo Kohonen, a Finnish scientist, performed extensive research on Self Organising Maps, where he studied the idea behind group formation in humans. He then developed an artificial neural network where machines can potentially solve problems based on this group formation idea.

Its not just human groups that have been under the spotlight for scientific research, ant colonies have been studied in the past and efficient optimisation algorithms have been developed based on their team work and group culture.

Though we may say, we are losing our old concept of society, we will still have to live in groups – albeit these groups will tend to be more self organised and might have different characteristics than the one we are used to.

If you ask me, I would classify this change as natural evolution. Honestly, only time will tell.

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